A spotlight caught the glimmer in her blue dress as she stepped up to the microphone. Hundreds of fans smiled in their tuxedos and ball gowns as she began strumming the guitar with her sparkling blue nails. The band swiftly chimed in.
Following the performance, 11-year-old Emily explained to the audience that she chose to sing American Authors hit single “The Best Day of My Life” because she knew it was going to be the best day of her life. Her wish to be a celebrity took center stage at Wish Ball at the MGM Grand in Detroit on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. But, her wish didn’t start there.
Just six weeks prior, a crowd of TV cameras and journalists flooded into the back door of the fifth graders classroom as her agent proclaimed that she was late for hair and make-up. She needed to come quickly. Her parents smiled through tears as they watched Emily, who has leukemia, stand up from her desk, leaving her pencil atop her notebook. Her classmates began buzzing, and her personal bodyguards escorted her into the hallway.
The hallways were lined with students chanting “Emily,” waving signs and nudging each other to get her autograph on her glossy headshot photo. She adjusted into her new stardom – thanking fans and completing each autographed name with a signature heart before she ducked into her white stretch limo.
She received a celebrity makeover as TV newscasters interviewed her and paparazzi snapped pictures through the salon’s window. She took the spotlight at a glamourous photo shoot, then stopped for lunch at her favorite hot spot. The red carpet rolled out, fans gushed and paparazzi fired off questions and photos.
The famous Emily then returned to school for a rally where the Royal Oak Mayor declared it “Emily’s Day.” Cheerleaders shouted an ‘Emily cheer’ and classmates fought for her autograph. She again escaped in her limo and was on her way to a shopping trip.
Emily sightings took over social media, and a massive swarm of fans screeched as her limo and security approached the mall entrance. She signed autographs with poise, slipped through crowd and spent the evening with a personal shopper at Macy’s to find the perfect ball gown for her performance debut at Wish Ball.
As she arrived to the MGM Grand on the day of her big performance, Emily was once again swarmed with fans and paparazzi. As any big celebrity does, she checked her hair and make-up, then grinned as the limo door opened and she stepped onto the red carpet. She posed with fans during a VIP autograph session, opened fan mail in her room before getting her hair and make-up complete. Then, she made her grand entrance to perform at Wish Ball – the 8,000th wish granted to a Michigan child by Make-A-Wish Michigan.
“It was more than I could ever wish for,” Emily said of why she wanted to be famous. “I want to be a singer and help people feel better through my music.”